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#1 Posted by harinosho (604 posts) -

Hi GB Community

Is their any reason why there is a need to translate the english language from british to american or vice versa? I dont think it really matters if a few vowels are removed or added. its not like people would misinterperet the meaning behind them. Just wondering why do they bother with it?

If anyone can link me to a good article regarding this or maybe provide some insight i'd be gratefull.

#2 Posted by JustKamToo (728 posts) -

Fanny

#3 Posted by Gruff182 (877 posts) -

No, they should just do it correctly the first time.

#4 Posted by Elazul (1327 posts) -

They don't usually seem to bother, do they? I thought the reason we get some games later is because they have to translate them for the rest of Europe before they'll put them out here.

#5 Posted by Bell_End (1203 posts) -
#6 Edited by CookieMonster (2451 posts) -

Bollucks.

Edit: Clunge.

#7 Posted by impartialgecko (1689 posts) -

Socom 4 altered the voices of the main characters based on which region you were in. I think it was another attempt to broaden the demographic, that's generally the reason for this stuff. Publishers are afraid the British will reject the lack of 'u's.

#8 Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -

Actually 99% of the time games don't bother doing this, but why does anyone bother writing properly? It's not just to communicate information, but it looks neat. Translating from American to British English may not be the biggest deal when it comes to writing in a game, but it's a nice little detail that adds some polish to the game.

Moderator
#9 Posted by Mento (2810 posts) -

They don't bother usually. It's localizing into the other languages that often delay European releases.

Though if this thread was in any way inspired by the Operation Rainfall games (Last Story and Xenoblade, at least, I haven't played Pandora's Tower), they were localized into British English because they weren't sure at the time if an American release would even happen. As far as I know, both games retain their British accents for their respective US releases.

But man, it would be so weird if they decided to give the P4 Arena cast a British spin during this long delay between the NTSC and PAL versions. As much as I like my home country, I don't think I want to live in a world where Chie is addicted to blood pudding.

Moderator
#10 Edited by DeF (4979 posts) -

it's not just the occasional extra U, though. Look at this, for example:

Adapting the vocabulary can be quite necessary in some cases (see above with pants being something like Jeans in the US and underwear in Britain). Though when a game clearly depicts a certain culture (like a GTA game, for example), it becomes unnecessary or possibly even detrimental to the game in question if one were to adapt to the region.

#11 Posted by Sploder (917 posts) -
@DeF said:

it's not just the occasional extra U, though. Look at this, for example:

Adapting the vocabulary can be quite necessary in some cases (see above with pants being something like Jeans in the US and underwear in Britain). Though when a game clearly depicts a certain culture (like a GTA game, for example), it becomes unnecessary or possibly even detrimental to the game in question if one were to adapt to the region.

Hah, I was actually about to come in here and make a joke along the lines of "they just have to change all mention of pants into trousers." Little did I know that it has actually happened.
#12 Posted by JoeyRavn (4986 posts) -

@harinosho said:

Is their any reason why there is a need to translate the english language from british to american or vice versa?

@Gamer_152 said:

Translating from American to British English

This is not translation, though. American and British English are (very broad) regional variants of the same language, but still the same language. Adapting the source text (in this case, the video game) to the target culture is called localization and it's part of a much larger process than simply changing "color" to "colour".

#13 Posted by Pepsiman (2491 posts) -

@Mento said:

They don't bother usually. It's localizing into the other languages that often delay European releases.

Though if this thread was in any way inspired by the Operation Rainfall games (Last Story and Xenoblade, at least, I haven't played Pandora's Tower), they were localized into British English because they weren't sure at the time if an American release would even happen. As far as I know, both games retain their British accents for their respective US releases.

But man, it would be so weird if they decided to give the P4 Arena cast a British spin during this long delay between the NTSC and PAL versions. As much as I like my home country, I don't think I want to live in a world where Chie is addicted to blood pudding.

To add onto what Mento wrote, Nintendo actually has a sporadic history of producing entirely separate English localizations for North America and UK/Europe. Probably the most vivid example within relatively recent years was Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, where each version not only had different dialog/writing styles, but also entirely different names for the cast and terminology for the game's world in general. It was an interesting experiment to watch unfold, to say the least, even if it was understandably not necessarily met with warm reception and probably created unnecessary fusion between fans in both regions. As somebody who does Japanese-English translations as mostly a hobby (for the time being), the writer in me would be interested in seeing it happen more often, albeit perhaps not to as extreme of an extent as the example provided. Despite the base universality between American English and other varieties like British English, there's still plenty of things unique to each dialect at a colloquial level that I don't think it'd be an inherent waste of time to produce separate American and British localizations. Financially there are certainly better things you could be doing, but Japanese in particular is such a distinctly different language compared to English that you could never point to one translation and say it's the only definitive good one, so there's always that particular justification, too.

As Mento also mentioned, it's the translation into other languages aside from English that holds up a lot of European releases for games, since I believe EU trade laws officially require availability in French, Italian, German, and Spanish in addition to English. To further add to the list of games first localized in the UK before being brought back to the States relatively unchanged, Solatorobo for the DS was originally translated by Nintendo's UK team before being handed off to XSeed for its US publishing gig. Then there are of course games like Last Window, the sequel to Hotel Dusk, and Another Code R, both of which only ever got an official English localization in the UK and were never brought over to the US.

I could probably ramble endlessly about localization and translations in general since it's basically all I do day in and day out when I'm not playing the games people are going to ask me to translate anyway, but I'll just stop here for now. I don't know if I added much to the discussion, but I hope it's useful information to somebody.

#14 Posted by IAmNotBatman (656 posts) -

@Sploder: Pants = Underpants to us.

#15 Edited by Hunter5024 (5982 posts) -

Personally I don't mind having Non-American English in a game. For fantasy I might even prefer it. Sometimes it gives games an added charm. Though I've known some English speakers who are super persnickety about other regions idiosyncrasies. They should probably just get over it in my opinion.

#16 Posted by believer258 (12216 posts) -

@JustKamToo said:

Fanny

There's your answer!

"Fanny" does not mean the same thing in the UK that it does in the US. Here, in the US, it means your butt. In the UK, it means the female naughty bit. See where this could get a bit confusing? And this is hardly the only case.

Yes, localization has some measure of importance or it wouldn't be something that anyone would invest in.

#17 Posted by mandude (2666 posts) -

Lack of localisation has screwed me over before. Apparently quite means very in America, so when Queen Brahne was quite impressed with my performance, I bowed my head in shame and redid the scene until I nailed it.

#18 Posted by Sweep (8986 posts) -

@JustKamToo said:

Fanny

Droppin' the other F-bomb over here.

Moderator
#19 Posted by Hunter5024 (5982 posts) -

I'd like to know if there is any game that actually has the word "fanny" in it, considering it's a word that is barely in use in America, and that there is never very much call to bring up a vagina in a game. Or maybe I'm just playing the wrong kind of games.

#20 Posted by BoG (5192 posts) -

I'm learning some new things. I had no idea that you all used so many words in the wrong way over in the UK!

#21 Posted by alternate (2720 posts) -

Translating it to US english seems insulting to the intelligence of american gamers. About 90% of games in english are US english and non-US don't moan much about it. Could be our constant diet of US TV and films, but still.

#22 Posted by mandude (2666 posts) -

@Hunter5024 said:

I'd like to know if there is any game that actually has the word "fanny" in it, considering it's a word that is barely in use in America, and that there is never very much call to bring up a vagina in a game. Or maybe I'm just playing the wrong kind of games.

Not only that, but it's also a very juvenile term for vagina, so it's even less likely to be used in games that would bring it up.

#23 Edited by Quantical (369 posts) -

Smacking fanny's in the UK would probably get a longer jail time than smacking bums I'm guessing.

I guess we just have to come together and smack each others cunts.

#24 Posted by Bocam (3833 posts) -

@Mento said:

But man, it would be so weird if they decided to give the P4 Arena cast a British spin during this long delay between the NTSC and PAL versions. As much as I like my home country, I don't think I want to live in a world where Chie is addicted to blood pudding.

It's a one month delay

#25 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

@mandude said:

Lack of localisation has screwed me over before. Apparently quite means very in America, so when Queen Brahne was quite impressed with my performance, I bowed my head in shame and redid the scene until I nailed it.

I have never heard "quite" used in any other context in anything with UK origin. You continue to give me reason to believe you're actually from some other planet, what with all the recent comments I read from you^^

#26 Posted by Mento (2810 posts) -

@Bocam: Is that really all it is? I need to stop underestimating the internet's ability to make a mountain out of a molehill whenever something gets under its skin.

Moderator
#27 Posted by Mackinder (74 posts) -

You know I think the UK can handle stuff from the US okay. Our culture is already influenced so much by other American media... they don't need to change the word pants to trousers in Hollywood films. We know what it means and the internal translation happens almost automatically in our heads.

#28 Posted by Bocam (3833 posts) -

@Mento said:

@Bocam: Is that really all it is? I need to stop underestimating the internet's ability to make a mountain out of a molehill whenever something gets under its skin.

Here's my source

#29 Edited by mandude (2666 posts) -

@DeF said:

@mandude said:

Lack of localisation has screwed me over before. Apparently quite means very in America, so when Queen Brahne was quite impressed with my performance, I bowed my head in shame and redid the scene until I nailed it.

I have never heard "quite" used in any other context in anything with UK origin. You continue to give me reason to believe you're actually from some other planet, what with all the recent comments I read from you^^

Yeah, that's probably because most of the time, the difference isn't too great to matter all that much. If I were quite impressed, though, it would mean I'm only somewhat impressed. Think about that the next time foreigners compliment you on something!

Is this about that Gamecube comment? Because I stand completely by it!

#30 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1612 posts) -

If it's any consolation to UK readers, every game released in Canada is full of misspellings. We have our own weird mashup of US and UK spellings, so no matter what way they go, it's never right. Here's a selection of correct (to the extent that this is even verifiable) Canadian spellings:

  • "colour"
  • "organize"
  • "metre"
  • "cheque"
  • "marvellous"
  • "smoulder"
  • "program"
  • "analogue"
  • "tire"

I tend to go with en-US and not en-GB when given a choice (since our vernacular is more American than British), but stuff often doesn't look right.

Online
#31 Posted by Nonapod (126 posts) -

As an American I refer to trucks as "lorries", elevators as "lifts", and cell phones as "mobiles" just to be a wiseass.

#32 Posted by DeF (4979 posts) -

@mandude said:

@DeF said:

@mandude said:

Lack of localisation has screwed me over before. Apparently quite means very in America, so when Queen Brahne was quite impressed with my performance, I bowed my head in shame and redid the scene until I nailed it.

I have never heard "quite" used in any other context in anything with UK origin. You continue to give me reason to believe you're actually from some other planet, what with all the recent comments I read from you^^

Yeah, that's probably because most of the time, the difference isn't too great to matter all that much. If I were quite impressed, though, it would mean I'm only somewhat impressed. Think about that the next time foreigners compliment you on something!

Is this about that Gamecube comment? Because I stand completely by it!

Yea that one and something else. Don't remember which one exactly ... I only know they made your name stick out :P

Your comments leave quite an impression ^^

#33 Posted by Rohok (554 posts) -

I think Britain should just adopt our language already. How many times do we have to beat them in a war for them to realize our language, country, and our Office is superior? You'd think two was enough.

#34 Posted by Scrawnto (2468 posts) -

It struck me as rather odd, as I started playing the Last Remnant, whenever Rush described something as "ace" or "mint" in his American accent. One more area where localization can go funny, I suppose.

#35 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

@Hunter5024 said:

I'd like to know if there is any game that actually has the word "fanny" in it, considering it's a word that is barely in use in America, and that there is never very much call to bring up a vagina in a game. Or maybe I'm just playing the wrong kind of games.

Fanny refers to someones butt in the US. Things could get weird if a little kids game used the word fanny for butt and they didn't switch the word for the European release.

#36 Posted by ShockD (2421 posts) -

Do British not understand American? Or do Australians do not understand Canadian?
 
Because, honestly, if there weren't the accents I wouldn't make a damn difference between them (except for some extra "u"-s in written British). No, I'm not a native speaker, but I still don't understand the deal with translating from English to English.

#37 Posted by mandude (2666 posts) -

@DeF said:

Yea that one and something else. Don't remember which one exactly ... I only know they made your name stick out :P

Your comments leave quite an impression ^^

Could be anything. I say a lot of important and fantastic things.

#38 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11421 posts) -

@Mento: Xenoblade is mad British! To the point where I got caught off guard every time the game told me someone in the game "learnt" a new skill or ability.

#39 Edited by Trilogy (2692 posts) -

@Mackinder said:

You know I think the UK can handle stuff from the US okay. Our culture is already influenced so much by other American media... they don't need to change the word pants to trousers in Hollywood films. We know what it means and the internal translation happens almost automatically in our heads.

Not to mention, in the US, we sometimes use the term trousers. It's just more of an outdated or old fashioned term. I'd like to think I know most UK vernacular as it is. It was weird as a kid learning that you guys call apartments "flats" or cigarettes "fags" but I just got used to it over time. I think it's a good thing to learn the cultural variations of the language instead of sheltering ourselves from it.

However, fanny should probably remain the exception...

#40 Posted by Shivoa (645 posts) -

Localisation is important. My understanding is the C word (forums rules on this? I suspect we have to watch out language somewhat) really isn't used in the US muck (beyond vulgar tirades). In the UK you could be referring to your best mate in that way to show familiarity (obviously not in work/polite company). Also, outside of many a pub you will hear the phrase "bum a fag", this doesn't have the US connotation and is a common utterance because not all our words line up.

#41 Posted by MrSpoon (53 posts) -

I realise localisation is much bigger than changing a few Z's to S's but I go back and forth on how much American spelling matters to me in games sold to UK customers and if it's bad for English kids to not use English words and spellings in favour of American equivalents (how many British GB users would have 'corrected' the first 3 words I wrote with Z's according to GB's Parchment?) As long as Kirby is localised to keep his fanny in his pants, I guess the spelling is moot.

I heard French radio stations have to play a certain amount of French language tracks, and this could be a good thing if the government fear French might be marginalised like Gaelic and Welsh, on the other hand, in the 21st century national pride might be irrelevant, and in regards to games, fewer more consistent localisations is better than names and plot points changing. Translations and interpretations of religious texts have led to much suffering, but I'm not sure if one universal tongue would be best. An example of multiple languages being good might be that in some languages the word 'theory' as used to explain scientific principles and laws may have only one word and is never confused with the word 'theory' as in speculation or practice. Learning an all encompassing language with minimal heteronyms and other confusions would be a massive undertaking and I don't even know what circumlocution means, then again I'm not Jewish.

#42 Posted by HorseFactory (97 posts) -

Esperanto is where it's at.

#43 Posted by returnofjake (232 posts) -

Most of the time I guess it's completely unnecessary, but the developers still need to check through for words / phrases that wouldn't make the trip over the Atlantic. Otherwise things like this hit the news and impact their game:

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/57621-spastic-video-game-is-recalled

#44 Posted by Gamer_152 (14113 posts) -

@JoeyRavn said:

@harinosho said:

Is their any reason why there is a need to translate the english language from british to american or vice versa?

@Gamer_152 said:

Translating from American to British English

This is not translation, though. American and British English are (very broad) regional variants of the same language, but still the same language. Adapting the source text (in this case, the video game) to the target culture is called localization and it's part of a much larger process than simply changing "color" to "colour".

I'm aware of localisation processes and the fact that America English and British English are not different languages, but "translate" seems as good a term as any to describe the process of converting words from one variant to the other.

Moderator
#45 Posted by Hunter5024 (5982 posts) -

@PeasantAbuse said:

@Hunter5024 said:

I'd like to know if there is any game that actually has the word "fanny" in it, considering it's a word that is barely in use in America, and that there is never very much call to bring up a vagina in a game. Or maybe I'm just playing the wrong kind of games.

Fanny refers to someones butt in the US. Things could get weird if a little kids game used the word fanny for butt and they didn't switch the word for the European release.

My point is it's a pretty uncommon word, in both languages it would seem, so it's not a very good example to justify localization, considering there has likely never been a game that actually used it.

#46 Posted by PenguinDust (12642 posts) -

I'm hoping they add alternate British audio tracks like they sometimes have for Japanese games. All Rockstar games should come with a bit of "pip pip cheerio!"

#47 Posted by caska (145 posts) -

@GrantHeaslip: Man I hate when I read 'check' somewhere and flip out because the sentence doesn't make sense until I realise it's just some American trying to spell cheque. Also you might be better off with using the Australian dictionaries as an alternative since from what I can see of your examples we're much the same.

#48 Posted by Patman99 (1620 posts) -

@GrantHeaslip said:

If it's any consolation to UK readers, every game released in Canada is full of misspellings. We have our own weird mashup of US and UK spellings, so no matter what way they go, it's never right. Here's a selection of correct (to the extent that this is even verifiable) Canadian spellings:

  • "colour"
  • "organize"
  • "metre"
  • "cheque"
  • "marvellous"
  • "smoulder"
  • "program"
  • "analogue"
  • "tire"

I tend to go with en-US and not en-GB when given a choice (since our vernacular is more American than British), but stuff often doesn't look right.

I think Canadian spellings are more "anything goes". I live in Canada and have always wrote "Programme and organise" and have never been corrected. Moreover, I will see both forms on billboards and such. I do have to agree what you wrote is the more common spellings but I have seen each of those words spelt in the other version. Personally, I would much rather have the British spellings than the American spellings but I don't think I have played a game where that is the case. Even the games developed in Canada seem to always prefer the American spellings.

I think the major problem with Canadians is that we are so hyper aware of the differences that actually spelling the word requires thought into what version we are going to write down. I think that comes down to our country and culture being much more of a middle ground between Europe and America. The only thing we have to thank for that is the constant bombardment of American media forcing their will down our throats. In the end, when it comes to video games, I dont really care. As long as it is English (or French) I can figure my way through it.

#49 Posted by cypher89 (55 posts) -

The whole localization thing isn't terribly necessary but this is coming from a Canadian where we have an odd mix of British/US English. It's pretty normal for me to swap spellings on words where the s/c are different like licence/license or defence/defense. Some people may find it annoying though.

PS: The US needs to start using the word toque, was playing Saints Row 2 the other day and I apparently bought a "knit hat"

#50 Posted by SmilingPig (1341 posts) -

Coming from another perspective it’s fascinating for me. I am a french Canadian from Québec and french movies ( from France) do really poorly here manly because they often sound like arrogant know-it-all but when the movies have a more International french translations they do OK.